Some changes made at Rizzo’s in downtown Naperville

<p>A Naperville police officer patrols downtown Naperville along Jefferson Avenue near <a id=Rizzo'sand BlackFinn American Saloon on Monday, February 4, 2013. Police have stepped up their presence in the downtown area following a number of violent incidents inside bars and out on sidewalks including fights and the stabbing death of Shaun Wild last February. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media  

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A Naperville police officer patrols downtown Naperville along Jefferson Avenue near Rizzo'sand BlackFinn American Saloon on Monday, February 4, 2013. Police have stepped up their presence in the downtown area following a number of violent incidents inside bars and out on sidewalks including fights and the stabbing death of Shaun Wild last February. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media  

Last year in late January, two individuals were arrested by Naperville police at Rizzo’s after a fight broke out in the second floor.

While any bar, anywhere, is vulnerable to having an unruly patron, the Naperville Liquor Commission is praising Charles Rizzo and other co-owners of the popular downtown establishment, located at 6 W. Jefferson, for a proactive approach in launching a makeover that owners hope will make the environment safer and more enjoyable for everyone.

“I see this as sort of giving them [Rizzo’s] an ‘atta-boy,’” said Mayor A. George Pradel to the rest of the Liquor Commission during its May 8 meeting. “Rizzo’s came to us in March of this year during a committee meeting and talked about wanting to make some changes to their establishment, and I thought it would be good for all us to hear how things are going.”

Rizzo said that beginning on May 5, the second floor, which spans 2,500 square feet, was remodeled including moving the floor plan around and changing the orientation of the bar which now runs parallel with the building and “allows a better traffic flow” through the area.

“We’ve had the same design here for the 9½ years we’ve been in business, and we feel that this new design creates a more natural traffic flow,” Rizzo said. “We’re also looking to eliminate some of the egress areas to the second floor in order to control traffic there as well.”

Rizzo told commissioners the plan is to post security personnel at both staircases that provide access to the popular second floor and have guests use the elevator instead.

Commissioner Scott Wehrli asked about using the staircases as exits from the second floor and Rizzo confirmed that both they and the elevator would be utilized “as exit options and in case of an emergency.”

City Attorney Mike DiSanto reinforced the fact that the Rizzo group had initiated the remodeling on their own at a March concept meeting and praised them for the initiative.

“They came to us and clearly favor safety and efficiency and we wanted to share something positive with the commission that highlights the strategic thinking we like to see in the downtown,” DiSanto said.

Rizzo said that all of the second floor renovations are completed and that work now is only “cosmetic in nature.”

“We have to do some staining and things like that, but we’ve worked really hard on this and we’re basically ready to go,” he said. “We see this as a way of adding an extra layer of security and hopefully eliminating overcrowded conditions. We offer the same experience, music and everything on the first floor as we do on the second, but for some reason, people just like going upstairs.”

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